On Thursday, DC unveiled their plans to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Batman on July 23 with a free copy of Detective Comics #27. In addition, they unveiled another piece of the celebration with something DC intends to give retailers: a poster detailing the history of Batman in those 75 years (shows, movies, and comics). Here's the poster in all its glory:
Of course, the entry is causing quite a bit of buzz, given, well, DC kind forgot a few things in that poster. The easy nitpicks are: how come no mention of Gotham Central or Birds of Prey? Both books created a huge turning point in the Bat Family and were critically acclaimed runs. What about stories of the modern era that are overlooked, like "The Dark Mirror", "Knightfall" (the poster notes Bane breaking Batman, yet not the story it happened in), or better yet any mention at all of "Under the Hood," the story that brought back Jason Todd (they do mention his death, but not that he was a Robin, or that the character came back)?
It's almost like this is purposely leaving out a select group of creative talent, perhaps due to the way they left DC. If so, petty grudges still abound!
This reporter's own personal grievances with this "history" would be the lack of certain characters mentioned. Yes, it's Batman, but what would be the Dark Knight without the huge cast of supporting characters or evolutions those characters took? Dick Grayson as Batman instantly pops into my mind. The most jarring omission is a passage for Barbara Gordon becoming Oracle. The character had a longer term in this identity than her one as Batgirl, yet not a single mention at all, save the act that paralyzed her in "The Killing Joke". DC feels the need to remember that part, but not what came after it? Okay...
Helena Bertinelli as Huntress? NOPE. Kathy Kane as the second Batwoman? Currently, Batwoman has her own ongoing and is a minority character, yet she is mysteriously absent here. Why is that? More mystery bias against creators who walked from the company? AGAIN, the formation of the Birds of Prey? Oh right, bias against Chuck Dixon, who really burned his bridges at DC. Stephanie Brown as Batgirl? I can almost hear DC Editors plugging their ears, screaming, "WE CAN'T HEAR YOU!! LA LA LA!" Either Jean Paul Valley or Michael Lane as Azrael? Sorry, I forgot, one was co-created by current Marvel exec Joe Quesada and the other is probably future event killing-bait, sadly (poor Orpheus). Kate Spencer, aka the eighth Manhunter? The formation and members of Batman Inc? Nah! Tim Drake as Red Robin? More on that later. But hey, they mentioned the Joker having an ongoing that lasted only nine issues. That's something right?
OF COURSE there's my favorite DC pet peeve, with them neglecting Cassandra Cain as Batgirl (besides skipping the other fact she was the first Batgirl to get a solo ongoing, or probably the most successful of the minority characters within the Batman books). Again, it's nice they at least acknowledge Stephanie Brown being a Robin, but come on. What's the problem with just listing Batgirl Volume 1? First Batgirl ongoing, that lasted past seventy issues, but nah gotta put more focus on that eight-issue Joker ongoing instead.The Batgirl ongoing happened. Why try to sweep it under the rug? No use backtracking, Oh wait, DC is good for that. Like how they retconned away Tim Drake's time as Robin in the New 52 (he's his own super hero now, just "Red" Robin. No Robin at all thanks to some awful logic and modifying TPB reprints to match this new history). So what does this say about DC trying to hook in readers when this poster showcases the Humpty Dumpty quagmire that is DC's continuity?
There are other minor quibbles as well. Not a hint of the various Batman animated movies save Batman: Mask of the Phantasm despite the fact that a lot of them are so well respected (so Subzero, Return of the Joker, and Under the Red Hood we mulligan because they were straight to DVD?). Or how a current animated program Beware the Batman just cannot catch a break at being listed either. If this is DC's idea of respecting the history of Batman, they really failed in representation shown. But then, failure is what DC does best nowadays doesn't it?
Overall, It's quite staggering to see how well the first fifty-years are listed in detail. All the key points of those two ages of comics are well represented, but coverage becomes very spotty right around the 90s. It just screams of being enamored with the distant past while ignoring more recent event (which says something about the lack of impact stories are allowed to have in the modern era when nothing can permanently change) and personal grudges against creators who have since left the company. I hate that the recent era is so underrepresented. Good things DID happen during those years. I don't understand why they feel the need to hide from them. Are these stories horrifying and scary? Heck no! Some of them are quite good and should be listed! The list could go on and on how DC really screwed the pooch here, but at least they've got another month and a half to fix this... it's not already printed, is it?